This piece is inspired by the large porcelain plaque by Otto Wuslitch (1819-1896), a German artist and member of the Munich School of Art. (The Munich School, specifically the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich), operated from 1850 until the First World War and was considered one of the most important institutions in Europe for training artists.) The British royal family has another plaque by him in its collection. Wuslitch’s image of the angel with the cherub soon after its creation in 1869 became extremely popular, with many women’s magazine putting out patterns for it in several variations so that it could be copied in woolwork and beadwork. This needlework in the round was created around 1880.
In this rendition of Wuslitch’s famous work, an angel is flying in the night sky past a crescent moon. She is looking down at the two infants cradled in her arms. The tapestry is worked on a linen ground in tent stitch and pettipoint. The angel’s wings and the long band of her costume were worked in fine silk floss. The background was worked in wool with beads scattered throughout the sky like stars. The faces of the angel and the children and their arms and feet were all carefully executed in pettipoint.
The stitcher used few colors to create her picture; mostly in cream, gray, camel, and black with a small area of sky blue where the clouds have opened. The moon was entirely worked in beads of white and black, giving it some sparkle.
The piece is housed in its original Victorian wood frame. This oak frame was lightly gilded so that the grain shows through. I have replaced the old mat with a gold-colored one. It was originally worked in the round, with no needlework under this mat. I put brown paper on the back to keep out dust. The needlework is in very good condition for its age. There is consistent fading across it. The frame is in excellent condition, with only a minor loss to the veneer on the top edge.
With its romantic, old-world feel, its unusual round shape, and its silk and beaded embellishments, this would make a remarkable decorative statement in the right place.
The entire piece measures 22-1/4 inches in diameter, while the needlework itself is 13 inches in diameter.
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